Federal Government Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position Regarding Medical Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 8, 2011

    Earlier today, United States DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart reaffirmed in the Federal Register the administration’s ‘flat Earth’ position regarding the medical properties of cannabis.

    Responding to a nine-year-old petition to reclassify marijuana under federal law filed by a coalition of advocacy groups, including NORML and California NORML, Leonhart stated, “[T]here is no substantial evidence that marijuana should be removed from schedule I.”

    A summary of Ms. Leonhart’s ‘reasoning’ is below. (Read the DEA’s full response here.)


    Drug Enforcement Administration

    21 CFR Chapter II [Docket No. DEA–352N]

    Denial of Petition To Initiate Proceedings
    To Reschedule Marijuana

    AGENCY: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Justice. ACTION:

    Denial of petition to initiate proceedings to reschedule marijuana.

    (1) Marijuana has a high potential for abuse. The DHHS evaluation and the additional data gathered by DEA show that marijuana has a high potential for abuse.

    (2) Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. According to established case law, marijuana has no ‘‘currently accepted medical use’’ because: The drug’s chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available.

    (3) Marijuana lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision. At present, there are no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved marijuana products, nor is marijuana under a New Drug Application (NDA) evaluation at the FDA for any indication. Marijuana does not have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.

    Coalition advocates will be appealing Leonhart’s decision in federal court.

    NORML had previously filed a similar rescheduling petition with the DEA in 1972, but was not granted a federal hearing on the issue until 1986. In 1988, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young ruled that marijuana did not meet the legal criteria of a Schedule I prohibited drug and should be reclassified. Then-DEA Administrator John Lawn rejected Young’s determination, a decision the D.C. Court of Appeals eventually affirmed in 1994.

    A subsequent petition was filed by former NORML Director Jon Gettman in 1995, but was rejected by the DEA in 2001.

    NORML will have additional information on this story in next week’s NORML media advisory.

    239 responses to “Federal Government Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position Regarding Medical Cannabis”

    1. Anonymous says:

      what a dumb bitch

    2. Michelle says:

      Hey it must be rejection day for MJ because a local ballot initiative to decrim a small amount of marijuana was rejected by the City of Tucson yesterday.

      Read all about it and I’m one of the campaign managers and this is touching off a firestorm with some of our citizens who want to have a sensible policy in our city.


    3. DdC says:

      “She has proven her leadership to be anti-science, pro-lying, pro-death and destruction, and devoid of competence, so the Senate decided she was perfect for this job”
      ~ Pete Guither DWR

      Arbitrary and Capricious OiNkDeCePtions

      Zero tolerance is as bad to the Neocons as legalizing. I never supported Obombo or sir Hilary. But I also never banked on his past statements to mean anything positive either. The only reason for Prop 19 is to sell pot. Not a bad thing unless it tweaks 215. The Compassionate Use Act already covers anyone for any reason, including caregivers. No limits other than what you think you require. It also covers 18 to 21 year olds mature enough to shoot Iraqi kids but not old enough to smoke a joint. That’s why imo 19 will fail again. Many sat by while the 215 initiative was disregarded by the republicans wilson and lungren.

      Note. Compassionate Use Act not the MMJ Act

      After Klinton and Junior, the explosion of buyers clubs hit LA and Oakland and many were only in it for the money. Still are. They are not covered under Prop 215, and that is who you hear whining now. Blame Obombo for being a typical Kratzy jerk off war monger moneyslut wannabe all you want but he didn’t lie about his intentions. He isn’t busting individuals or their caregivers. We have to forget normal politics concerning the Ganjawar. This war only profits if it continues. It only keeps natural alternatives off the market shelves if it continues. “Treatment” pays, Cures and Prevention kill profits.

      D.E.A. Confirms Grounds To Remove Marijuana From Sched#1

      Drug Czar Manipulating Data in a Report to Congress

      Politicians are sleezeballs right next to DA’s, religionists cops and legislating judges. There isn’t much doubt the Drug Tzar is bound by law to lie. Obombo has the Commerce Claus to ward off Buyers Clubs. If he could wipe out stoners into Koch Bros telemandatory marketing profits they would. If the 10th Amendment didn’t instruct states to decide on individuals they’d of included them in the Gonzo v Raich decision. Prop 215 engages the 10th Amendment. So each state should incorporate their own initiatives. But to save any integrity for the country the ultimate goal should be to overturn Cannabis and Hemp as schedule#1 Narcotics, if not, scrap the entire CSA and dissolve and investigate the ONDCP and their subsidiaries.

      The Effect of Controlled Substances Scheduling on Research

      Is The DEA Legalizing THC?

      Every time we relinquish checks and balances for single human dictatorial governance we end up with corruption and arbitrary decisions that serve a minority or the status quo government and corporate interests. Anslinger, McCarthy, Janet Edgar Hoover, Nixon, Clinton, Cheney Boosh or these dea flying monkey’s serving the Tzars. If we don’t stop repeating History then we shouldn’t gripe when we end up with the same results. Leonhart has no Democratic or American authority to determine the scheduling of a substance. Politically obedient cops are a menace to society and should be classified as schedule #1 dangerous, addictive poisons. Science has already determined cannabis is medicinal and the safest substance in the entire pharmacopeia. Lyingheart is slaving for job security. Pitifools on display.

      Michele M. Leonhart (Lying Heart)

      Committee blocks Leonhart nomination

      So the Apothecaries, Coops and dispensaries (Buyers Clubs) are perhaps unjustly classed, but still classed as Commerce and subject to the Feds Commerce Claus determination. But that is what the GOPerverted supremes ruled in Gonzo v Raich. I still claim that doesn’t include individuals and the following articles seem to agree. So regardless of the bogus DEAth mongers arbitrary and capricious decisions to disregard Medicine and Science for profits and power. We can toke all we want under state law. Just can’t sell it. Good incentive for the Ganja profiteers to lobby to disolve the ondcp and its evil minions. It also sends a message for any stragglers believing in politicians. That bogus legislation will somehow be redeemed by the same crooked system doing the abuse. The same system reaping the rewards paid by tax payers. Perpetuating the drug war and the jobs maintaining it. Like Mikal Lyinghart. Sickening state of affairs. Off with their heads!

      Obama Admin Memo on Medical Marijuana Stirs Dismay
      The medical marijuana movement is reeling after the Obama Justice Department released a memo last week declaring that it might prosecute large-scale medical marijuana cultivation operations and dispensaries even in states where they are operating in compliance with state laws.

      The memo, written by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole, “clarifies” the October 2009 memo from then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden that told federal prosecutors not to focus their resources on patients and providers in compliance with state laws.

      No One is Outside Federal Marijuana Laws, US Says
      A memo from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington says state laws allowing medical marijuana opened the door to abuses and calls for legally targeting “large-scale, privately operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers” as well as distribution operations known as dispensaries.

      Medical-Marijuana Advocacy Group Sees Loophole
      The memo does warn that those who “facilitate” large-scale medical-marijuana production are violating the federal Controlled Substances Act.

    4. Smokey Joe says:

      I am SO happy to live in an enlightened age and that I can trust my government!

    5. DdC says:

      <img src="http://i34.tinypic.com/2h6645h.jpg&quot; height="355" width"209"

    6. Khari says:

      Marijuana is a natural, organic plant that has existed on earth since the creation of organic life and therefore will never be removed from the solar eco-system. Governmental law-enforcement will do nothing to stop it’s continued use among legal and illegal induviduals anywhere on this planet that it is being enjoyed, studied, used for internal/spiritual, personal reflection and insight, and recreational pleasure enjoyment.

      The outdated, limited perspective of marijuana’s use and cultivation/manufacturing by grow operations, down to the dealer or store seller of this particular plant must be updated, to reflect the present-day intelligence of the casual and professional marijuana user/connoisseur. Men and women can indulge in many other more harmful pharmaceutical pills and substances with condoned ease from pharmacists and doctors due to the personalized perspective of the permitting or limitation of whatever the medical profession sees allowable or prohibited.
      In true fact, it cannot kill human beings by overusage. It just causes enhanced sleep. It also is not physically dangerous to touch or smell, to any human being with normal, functional sensory intake. Marijuana is from a seed which grows in the ground, and becomes bigger and blossoms with sunlight and water. The chemistry explanation to this should be evident to ANY SCIENTIST THAT CLAIMS THEY HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF NATURE AND BOTANY.

      I also would like to say that, synthetic marijuana substances will never replace the original and actual natural application of the plant to the physical human body. If a substitute is created, it will be profoundly different from the plain, pure strains and cross-breeds and concoctions of natural marijuana.

      If the medical profession was to take seriously the positive and potential economic and entrepreneurial AND health-related issues necessary to understand the purpose and intention behind marijuana usage and convenient, (legal) consumption, they would gain intelligence in the fields of:
      1-personal pleasure.
      2-pain control and reduction.
      3-mental medicine for certain non-damaged brain problems.
      4-sexual and social personality enhancement.
      5-educational and artistic application of it’s benefits.
      6-spiritual and intellectual energy empowerments.
      7-private life relaxation and recreation.
      8-emotional cleansing and body function re-correction by atomic and chemical process procedured enabled by the moderated (yet unlimited) use of the marijuana plant.

      It is only the guns, knives, money thieves and societal propaganda that makes legislative control of this particular plant necessary due to the lower level ignorance of the general public’s refusal to use this natural plant like mature, educated, safety-aware adults in a peaceful society of intellectual thinkers.
      Police and the army do not make any improvements with their incessant damnization of a harmless substance.
      The individuals that do crime to enjoy this substance are the actual ones who make use, enjoyment and educational enhancement unable to be done peacefully and properly in public or private, because of criminal force and illegal business practices of mafia manufacturing of an eternal natural resource of humankind that has been developing and evolving over millennia, but will change, once the laws of society change and be upgraded to the level of knowledge in the 2011 living world on this planet.

      Sell them like cigarettes, have smoking areas and do not let anyone under the age of 25 (or 30) ever have this marijuana plant. Curated, packaged, prepared and measured for moderate, miraculous enjoyment and education for the legal adult in a modern world.

      I would like to see the government use a mentality of the people that will make life better for US, once YOU/THEY conform to OUR ways of life and laws of natural love for plants and foods.

      (make cookies and tea with it, too)

      Khari Stewart. 2011
      Legalize it.

    7. One More Reason says:

      Funny how people with so much power aren’t up for election at all. Gives the people no chance of getting rid of somebody like this unless we HAPPEN to get the actual presidential administration to change and even then we have no say in who comes in next.

      The libertarians are right: smaller government is needed.

    8. Douglas says:

      Well now what did yall expect to happen. Did you really think the D.E.A would rescale this drug. Come on yall wake up and smell the coffee.

    9. It’s time for the Fed to step up to the plate and allow scientific testing of Cannabis since so many people are medically dependant on it. It’s the Fed’s responsibility “and what we pay them for” to provide access to obtain scientific research to confirm this wonderful medicine doesnt have negative side affects. The Fed should be concerned that medical Cannabis patients arent harming themselves by using this wonderful Cannabis plant but instead they are jumping up and down swearing it has no medicinal value when in fact MMJ patients know better because they are the proof. They have yet to claim Cannabis is bad for our health like they do with cigarettes, alchohol, and KS Spice. If Cannabis has no medicinal value then why does the Fed have it patented as medicine. The Fed doesnt want us to have good medicine that has no ill side affects and will help us live a long and productive life because we will quit buying their special interest big pharm drugs that are killing us off. They have brain washed people into thinking the pill option is best because thats what fills their coffers. Fed is trying to stay in control of your very life and final dollar and to legalize Cannabis would be to free us from their rapture and allow us to be healthy by our own decision.